Friday, December 28, 2012

A Pretty Misers Purse

Miser purse with embroidered silk ribbon pansy.

The diamond shaped purse project came out very pretty.  It makes me think of a young woman at a dance using the purse to hold her dance card.  I am so glad that I noticed it in a movie.  What struck me most about the purse design was the fringe.   After taking a pansy silk ribbon embroidery and drawing a diamond around it I sewed it together with the right side out.  I first tried a button hole stitch but it didn't work.  So I just used a straight stitch and made a lot of random backstitches to secure the seams.  The top was left open and then after trimming the fabric leaving enough for a fringe, it was turned inside out.  Around the open edge of the purse I turned down a hem twice and stitched it down.  The top seams were a problem because when I started to fray the fabric to make the fringe it was easy to fray to much.  I have never done a diagonal fringe before.  So I only frayed to a 1/4 inch from the seams in any direction.  Finally I ran some purple ribbon through the top hem leaving two loops of ribbon so the purse can hang from a wrist.  What was really cool was that the loose woven fabric used had small stains that looked like old pin stains.  If I were to make another purse I would make a bias edging on the top to secure it better.

Close up of pansy ribbon embroidery.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mountmellick Embroidery

I went out today to get some thread to work on the Mountmellick embroidery.  There is only one place in town that has the Perle cotton so I was very lucky to find what I needed.  So this afternoon I started the embroidery.  It is very easy to stitch the design and I'm getting used to the Palestrina stitch.  Even though the fabric is lighter then the book recommends it is still hard on the hands.

Last night I went through the pile of finished embroideries and found some ribbon embroidery I had finished but not yet used.  I decided to make it into a small bag.  Watching a version of "Emma" I noticed a cute little draw string purse.  It was a diamond shaped design and had a fringe.  So I took the silk embroidery and pinned it to a back piece in a diamond shape.  I decided to sew it wrong sides together using a beaded buttonhole stitch.  It is the same stitch I used on one of the Christmas ornaments.  Since it is a lot easier to stitch I want to work on it tonight if I'm not to cold!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas

The big day finally got here and has been dull even by our own standards.  I am still making gifts to send out but I have slowed down.  Started today by being sick and sleeping in.  So I didn't get to make bread for dinner.  We were going to have turkey soup for dinner but it went bad.  So Lee may make us some potato pancakes instead!  The local Chinese restaurant is closed.

So beside resting I have been learning to do a form of whitework called Mountmellick.  It is very simple whitework with only a couple of different stitches, mountmellick stitch and palestrina stitch.  The main difference in this form of embroidery is that it is supposed to be worked on a heavy fabric like cotton duck.  A couple weeks ago I found some fabric that looked right but was a lot easier to stitch on.  So the last couple of days I have been practising the stitches and have actually copied out a pattern and put it into a stitching frame.  It is a wonderful frame that allows me to sit or stand to use it.  The project I am attempting to create is a large pillow cover.  The pattern is from a book I got last Christmas called "Begginer's Guide to Mountmellick Embroidery" by Pat Trott.  The author does the thickest padded satin stitch I have seen used.  She fills in shapes with seed stitch as well as two rows of padded satin stitch before the final satin stitch finish.  I really do enjoy whitework because it is all about light, texture and pattern.  Tomorrow I will have to finish the Herb Robert embroidery because it is supposed to be a Christmas gift and needs to be framed.  Sad that I never got the butterfly right!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lots of Earrings

Earrings!  That is all I seemed to be doing the last few days.  So far they are coming out rather well.  I am a little tired of making them though.  The thought in the back of my mind is to finish 20 sets and then if I don't get any other gifts finished at least everyone will have earrings!  They have lowered the dosage on one medicine and raised the dosage on another so I'm not sure if that last sentence makes any sense.  I still want to make the ear shaped earrings but haven't got the piece to hold it onto my ear working for very long.  It also brings up another problem, making it fit someones ear.  Somehow calling and asking someone to fax a picture of their ear is probably going to alarm someone as to my already questionable sanity!

So here are a few pictures of some earrings I've made.

These two I started but couldn't find the beads to make mates yet!
Crystal earrings with drop fans.
These came out very pretty This was the first time I had used the crystal fans.  The circular crystal has 42 facets so these really sparkle.

Angel earring?
Another picture of the angel earring.
Here I was trying to add the fan as a drop when I accidentally made an angel.
Very abstracted pearl and crystal earrings.
More crystal earrings this has a dangling wirework piece.
Blue, clear and gold glass and crystal beads wired onto a gold chain.
These were a lot of work to make.  There are a lot of small crystals wired onto the chain here with 24 gauge wire.  They came out pretty but to much work.
Another set of clear crystal earring this one was made
using a briolete as a drop.
A set of steam punk earrings in progress.
I was also making some necklaces.  They are just simple wired crystals and pearls.
Cream crystal pearls surrounded with small light blue crystals
alternating with dark blue square crystals and bicones.
Brazilian embroidered roses.
This little embroidery is for a Thank you card.  When it was finished I cut the fabric and glued the edges to the back of a 2.5 by 3.5 card.  It had been a long time since doing the bullion rose but they came out rather nice.  It was another doodle that I made without any planning.  Hope to get it in the mail soon.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Tree Up!

Yesterday I fell asleep before I was able to post!  I fell asleep early and only just woke up at 3:00 pm.  That was probably because I tried to do to much yesterday.  I worked on the kitchen and made biscuits so we could try some black current preserves.  Sadly the preserves weren't as good as I've had before.  Sounds strange but one of our treats is a jar of preserves occasionally.

So after the biscuits, I put up the Christmas tree.  This is my third year with a tree and have 7 ornaments so far.  That is counting the copper ones I've been making.  I also strung lights on the tree for the first time and it was very comic!  The lights are so unevenly strung it looks awful.  But I am going to try to restring them.  There were also some surprises!  The green and copper snowflakes just blended into the tree but the all copper snowflake looks fantastic.  I found some smaller wire snowflake forms and will make these with all copper beads.  The other idea that I've had is to use the crochet wire necklace tutorial and make a very long piece to use as a garland.  Here is the link to the tutorial

I've made a short piece of the garland and it looks great.  It is just that the garland will use a lot of copper wire and beads.  That gives me two ways to recycle the garland after Christmas.  First after Christmas I could cut the garland into crocheted wire necklaces.  That would be an easy and great way to recycle but what would I do with all the necklaces?  The second idea is to cut a few inches of garland at a time and recover the beads and then straightening the wire to use on earrings and other small projects.  I could also go back to my original idea of making the copper necklaces and hooking them together as a garland.  Then people could choose the one they like from the tree and I could give it to them as a gift.  I will have to think about it.

The other gift project is to make truffles and a bread (ie. stollen or cherry bread).  I'm not sure I have the energy to make food this year.  I would also like to make jewelry as gifts.  It just seems a waste to send a box without several goodies for each family.

Yesterday I started making some earrings which I messed up rather badly.  I was making the earring rather abstract and couldn't get a pair to look alike.  I do plan on making a great many earrings this season but maybe not abstract ones!  I'm not able to get pictures right now so I will try again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rosary Finished, Now What to do?

Finished the rosary by buying a cross.  I couldn't manage to make a cross out of wire without torquing it badly so I decided to buy one.  It was easy enough to attach to the rosary.  I got a critique of the rosary and it is to long and could have been made with smaller beads.  But it is pretty and sturdy.  Next time I will try and make it smaller and will look into a special rosary tool.  I'm so glad I stopped working on the pearl rosary it would have been to heavy to lift!  Now to start making gifts in earnest.  It would have been so much better to have started in October.  Will have to finish making a list of gifts and start making stuff.  Definitely need to make lots and lots of earrings! 

Added the Cross with dove to rosary.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Silk Ribbon Initial

Silk ribbon embroidery can be rather fun when you just sit and doodle.  Today I worked on a piece that will be made into a needle roll.  As a few posts ago I sharply realized that a proper needle roll was important.  So I started one for myself with my initial.  It has gotten a bit out of control, I keep adding bits of embroidery to it and in some parts embroidered over embroidery that didn't look right.  That is the problem embroidering without a plan and doing only rough sketching on the fabric.  Before I started the project I wanted it to be very ornate and tried to remember pieces of old ribbon work that I had seen.  So I couldn't settle for just a pretty initial it had to be surrounded with stitching and then more stitching around the other stitching until it threatens to take over the whole piece of fabric.  Now I'm trying to deciding whether to add a crown!  I think it is quite ornate enough and will wait to decide on anything further tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to Make a No Chain Start in Crochet Tutorial

This is such a clever way to start crochet projects without making a foundation chain.  It doesn't work for all projects but many projects especially afghans it does.  One of the biggest reasons that I gave up making afghans is the starting chain.  Sometimes more than 200 chains to just get started and then a few extra just in case you miss counted.  Then I found the chainless start in a 19th century book and I'm so happy I sat down and learned this trick.  The tutorial is for making a row 1 of double crochets.

Step 1:  Make a slip knot and tighten it around the hook.

Step 2: Chain 4, the first chain loop takes the place of the chain start and the three make up the first double crochet.

Step 3: Yarn over insert hook in fourth chain from hook.  Yarn over and pull through, there will be three loops on the hook.

Step 4:  Yarn over and pull through 1 loop, 3 loops will be on the hook. The loop you just pulled through becomes the foundation chain for the next stitch. 

Step 5: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, 2 loops remain.

Step 6: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, stitch is now completed.

Start of next stitch.

Step 1: Yarn over and place hook in the bottom of the last stitch.  In the picture you will see that I left the chain stitch loose so it was more visible.  Yarn over and pull the loop through, 3 loops on hook.

Step 2:  Yarn over and the pull thread through 1 loop, 3 loops on hook.  This is making the foundation chain for the next stitch.  You can think of this as making the original starting chain while crocheting the stitch.

Step 3: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, 2 loops remaining.

Step 4: Yarn over and pull though 2 loops, 1 loop on hook.

Step 5: Repeat the second set of steps 1 through 4 until you have the correct number of stitches for your pattern.

Need chain spaces?  It is easy.

Step 1: Chain number of chains in pattern  This example will use 1 chain space.

Step 2: Yarn over and place hook in the bottom of the last stitch.  Yarn over and pull the loop through, 3 loops on hook.
Step 3: Now yarn over and pull through as many times as need for chain spaces in pattern.  In this example we will use 1 extra space. Yarn over and the pull thread through 1 loop, yarn over and pull through 1 loop again creating a chain one space and the foundation space for the next stitch.

Step 4: Yarn over and pull through 2 loops, 2 loops remaining.

Step 4: Yarn over and pull though 2 loops, 1 loop remaining.

I hope that these instructions are clear enough and someone finds it helpful.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cross for the Rosary

Today wasn't very productive.  I've been working on a cross for the rosary.  So far I have been trying to string beads on wire to form a cross using the rose quartz beads.  But the tension is hard to get right.  The rest of the day I made lists and got stuff ready for the coming Holidays.  Tomorrow I hope to get the tree ready.  It is supposed to rain starting Wednesday so have to get ready for that also.  To many rainy days means fewer chocolates made.  I have been looking at a recipe for a chocolate and raspberry candy that sounds delicious.  Lots to do!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rose Quartz Rosary

Last night I decided not to continue with the pearl rosary. So today I found the rose quartz beads. They are a very delicate pink because I don't usually buy dyed stones. The dye will fade over time and buying them undyed also gives them a more translucent look.  They are size 5 beads so this will be a much smaller and lighter rosary and I was able to use some of the gold chain I have.  
I chose square separator bead.  It is a lot of work wiring all those beads.  Last night I also looked up about prayer beads.  Turns out many religions have prayer beads and they usually differ on the numbers of beads in a strand.  According to Wikipedia the English word bead is from the Old English bede which means prayer.

Rose quartz Rosery.  All it needs is a cross.
Pearl rosery with a wire cross I made.

So I stayed up rather late last night because of all the sleeping I did during the day.   I stopped making the Rosary and started a silk ribbon decoration for the clear glass ball ornaments.  It was stitched onto crinoline which was horrible to the silk ribbons.  I had to use short lengths of ribbon because of all the tearing. But after embroidering the crinoline I cut out the design and used markers to match the edges to the embroidery.  Then I glued it to the ball and it came out beautifully.  Now I need some rest!

Work in progress on embroidered glass ball.
Embroidery cut out.
Embroidery glued to glass ball.
Another view.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rosary part deux

Today I slept over 17 hours so I haven't worked much on the rosary.  However I realised that there are 5 sections of 10 beads not 4.  So by the time I am finished with the piece it will be very long and heavy.  It is beautiful and I made the links as small as I could but the size 8 pearls are making it very long.  Besides that the cross I made is to small for the rosary.  So now I have the dilemma of whether to finish it or to break it apart into 2 necklaces.  Either way I will need to buy more silver chain to make a new or finish the current rosary.  I'm not sure at all that I can afford some more chain with the price of silver.  So I will look at my own jewelry and see if I can find a strong enough chain to recycle.  I'm just sad because I wanted to give the gift next week.  Perhaps the size 6 rose quartz that was purchased for another wedding will work!

Lee is working on the kitchen so I will have lots of space to start baking gifts.  I'm still not sure what I want to bake but the stollen was so good last year that I have a feeling I will be making more!  The only problem is will I just eat it instead of sending it!  Of course there must be truffles, at least they are easy to make.  With luck the first package will go out Tuesday!

Just finished "Pride and Prejudice" now for "Sense and Sensibility" and "A Study in Scarlet".

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pearl and Crystal Rosary

On they have a few instructions for making Rosaries.  So today I started one for a friend.  I used 20 gauge wire and started making wired pearls.  I used the smallest pliers so that the loops would be small compared to the size 10 pearls.  Then between the sections of 10 wired pearls I put 5 links of silver chain and a size 12 AB round crystal.  So far it looks alright, but the cross is going to be hard to decide on.  I was thinking of making the outline of a cross in heavy wire and then flatten it on an anvil.  With a smaller gauge wire I was thinking of stringing small crystals inside the cross.  I had hoped to finish it tonight but it was just to big a project for one afternoon and evening of work.  Maybe tomorrow I will be able to finish it and I will have another gift done!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks (personal)

Today is a special day of thanks because 8 years ago today my doctor released me from her care and I was cancer free.  As I was leaving her office I said I would see her in 25 years.  She stopped me leaving and explained that the cancer was not an easy one to beat and most people had only a remission of three years.  So after 8 years I really may have beaten it.  Unfortunately after the seizures a few weeks ago my doctor insisted on tests because the cancer often comes back in the brain.  They found nothing in my head which I have been saying for years!  So today is special for me and I am grateful that my doctor was cautious and wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pearl Jewelry

Today I took out the pearls left from the wedding and made some abstract earrings.  These look a lot like the pearl earrings I made back in June.  Then I decided to make a matching 22 inch necklace.  The necklace is made of silver wrapped pearls that I added a pendant to.  The pendant looks like one of the earrings.  I thought they both came out nice but I may add a chain strand with pearls every 3 inches. 
Pearl earrings that started it all!
Wired pearls and close up of pendant.
Then while I still had some hand strength I also made a 23 inch strand of silver wrapped pearls and crystals.  Not to bad a day of crafting making two gifts!
Necklace with alternating large crystals and cream colored crystal pearls.
The second necklace was made with larger loops and a medium silver jump ring between each wrapped sections.  This gave the necklace a lacier look.  There are two types of alternating sections.  The first is a pearl with small crystal bicones on either end.  The other is a crystal with two small pearls at either end.  The pattern is two pearl sections and then one crystal section.  I hope that it will be as easy thinking of other designs for gifts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ultimate Embroidery Experience

The thing that all embroiders fear, I sat on my needle roll and had to pull four needles out of my butt!  You know that sooner or later it will happen it is just a matter of time!

Today I started an Elizabethan style embroidery.  The pattern is from "Exploring Elizabethan Embroidery" by Dorothy Clarke.  The pattern I chose is called blossom and features flower petals that are needle woven in button hole stitches.  I want to turn it into a Christmas ornament for the tree.  It is on a unbleached muslin background and I am using one strand of cotton floss.  Looks like it will be nice.  But since I have had a needling experience I think I will just read tonight!

Monday, November 19, 2012

More Copper Snowflakes and Easy to Decorate Glass Ornament

Today while picking up the copper snowflakes I placed them on top of each other and they were beautiful together.  Now instead of two six pronged snowflakes I have a beautiful 12 pronged snowflake.  So I made two more today and wired them together.  Then I made some burgundy satin roses from fabric and decorated a glass ball ornament. 

The decorative glass ball is so easy to make.  All I did was take the top off and put about 30 crystals in two shades of green and clear and added some copper metal beads.  They look great and is a good way to use odds and ends of beads.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time to Get Started on Christmas

It is very late in the year to get started on Christmas but then I never get started early.  As I've said in other posts I make everyone the same thing.  Doesn't seem very fair to force the same things on everyone but it works for me!

The first thing to do is setup the tree and work on ornaments.  This year I want to decorate the tree with a garland made out of copper necklaces.  Definitely different!  It seems to me that interlinking necklaces to make a garland and then giving away the necklaces as gifts is a cool idea.  So far I have 70 inches of copper necklaces already made.  The real problem is how to decorate the rest of the tree!  The only idea I have is to make little wirework ornaments, they could be decorated with colorful crystals.  So far I have made a wirework frame with six spokes.  It is decorated with copper beads held on by wrapping 26 gauge wire.

Strange but pretty, the frame I made bent so it isn't very even.

Purchased 6 x 6 inch snowflake frame.
That didn't work out but is something to try again later.  Then I took a steel snowflake frame and added green and copper beads,  I bent the ends of the frames because I wanted to be able to reuse the beads after Christmas.  Copper snowflakes are definitely different!

Copper clear crystal and green crystal snowflake.
Close up.
Second green crystal and copper snowflake.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Altrusa Tree Finished Updated

Update: The Victorian tree brought in lots of money for the charity.  Many people thought it was lovely, and the woman who got the tree was really happy.  It was a great experience.

Today the tree was setup to be raffled at the Elks Club.  Our tree was the best one there of course!  It was very lovely and everyone did a beautiful job.  It is one thing to make some ornaments but quite another to pull it all together, Linda made it magical.  The tree spilled out to the gifts so that it was hard to know where the tree ended.  The gifts were wonderful and would make any Victorian Lady happy.  An umbrella at the back was made with recycled slips from the 1890's.  Very clever recycling!  The tree skirt was lovely and most of the ornaments were handmade and embroidered with silk ribbons.  The top of the tree had branches coming out the top with pretty birds sitting on them.  There was even a bell jar with a bird in it.  There was a beautiful tea cup and even a miniature tea set on top of cake plates.  There were vases and candles and the dressmakers dummy was made of lacy iron work and so lovely.  I even donated the fake chocolate dipped strawberries.  The only bad thing was that my pictures didn't come out very well.  But here is what I could salvage of the tree pictures.

Umbrella at back of the tree.
Ornaments on the tree.
More ornaments.
Still more ornaments.
Close up, near the top of the picture is a ballerina costume.
Wirework mannequin.
Last of the pictures, back of the mirror decorated with ribbon embroidery. 
One of the pictures that didn't come out was of a embroidery frame with a canvas work picture of a country cottage!  I'm sure that everyone will agree that this was a great tree!